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|September 10, 2001||
Arthur J Pais
Jimi Mistry removes his turban and slowly lets his long hair loose. He is preparing himself. He must torture another murder suspect.
He repeats the action a few reels later in My Kingdom, a modern-day reworking of Shakespeare's King Lear.
Mistry plays Jug (one of the many gangsters populating this British film) and is about to go on another violent binge in this often gripping, but consistently, violent production.
'Isn't it a sin for a Sikh to remove the turban?' Jug is asked in the film.
It is, he replies and says he does it so deliberately because he believes justice is 'blind'. He also has Sikh symbols on his upper arm.
The film, directed by a relatively less known Don Boyd, is headlined by thespian Richard Harris playing a seemingly avuncular businessman whose underground crimes come back to haunt his wife and children.
While the character played by Harris has some redeeming features, Jug seems to be doomed for hell. He has no qualms about his wife getting into a S&M act with a corrupt police officer so that they could use him.
My Kingdom was one of the bloodiest films shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. It still awaits its international release.
Mistry, one of the up and coming of British actors, has been appreciated for his work in such smash hits as East is East. He leads the cast in The Guru, a Shekhar Kapur production, which will be released early next year. He is seen in a negative role for the first time.
Given its slow pace, violent, downbeat story line, My Kingdom may not be a success.
But it will be interesting to note what it could do Mistry's career.
And it will be interesting to see the reaction his turban removal will get in England.
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